Juventus will play against Lokomotiv Moscow tomorrow in the fourth Champions League matchday, and speaking ahead of the game manager Maurizio Sarri knows that there’s no such thing as guaranteed wins at this level.
“In Europe if you don’t do play at a worthy level, you don’t pick up points.
“It’ll be a difficult game, they already made it difficult for us in the first leg. In the Champions League if you don’t put in performances, you don’t get results.
“The objective is to get past the group stage. We then want first place in the group, but we’re facing a team that are playing to keep their own hopes of qualification alive.”
How does Sarri judge his season so far?
“The balance sheet for me has been positive so far, both in the League and the Champions League.
“We still have room to grow. If you look at the data of the last few seasons and this one, it’ll differ in terms of the team’s centre of gravity, attempts at goal and goals conceded.
“They won’t always be for the better but they’re different. We’re working in a different way now.
“I have the feeling that, luckily, our players have room for improvement.”
It took a late double from Paulo Dybala last time around to seal the three points, so what was Sarri expecting from Lokomotiv at home?
“If there were countermeasures against teams who sit back, no-one would sit back anymore.
“It’s difficult, unless you find the breakthrough straight away. These are situations that are resolved through a single player rather than tactics.
“Luckily we have a host of players with great quality. If they repeat the attitude they played with in the first game then we’ll figure it out, but they’ll have a different game this time around.
“They’re different at home. They’re more aggressive and proactive.”
And again Sarri was asked if he would use Dybala alongside Gonzalo Higuain up front.
“The last thing I want to do is convince them to accept staying out. The lads knew the situation well from the start. They took themselves off the market and stayed.
“By making that choice, they knew they would’ve hardly played together. If I can get them to play together, I’ll be the first person to be happy.”
Goalie Wojciech Szczesny also spoke to the media, who started by asking him how it was having club legend Gianluigi Buffon back in the mix.
“Gianluigi Buffon is a great goalkeeper and a great man and when he plays, he’s still in great form. We are all happy that he came back and it’s great for me to have another year with him.”
Juve’s defensive struggles this season have been showing in how few clean sheets the Bianconeri have had.
“We’ve gone too long without keeping a clean sheet and now we hope that we can begin a run, having kept a clean sheet in the last game.
“I’m part of one of the best teams that there are, right now we feel strong and now I just think of giving my best.”